Are HTTPs Sites Getting Any Ranking Benefits? Google Says So, Study Says No!

Aug 30, 2014 | 1,554 views | by Ritu Sharma
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Google recently announced that using https on a website will give a minor ranking boost to website owners. But, is the announcement really working in favor of https websites? According to Google, https is a lightweight signal and currently affects 1% of the search queries worldwide.

An analysis by SearchMetrics shows there’s as such no impact on the rankings of the https sites, post announcement. Let’s get deeper into the analysis:

On looking at the average rankings of http and https that were analyzed on a URL basis and directories, it was found out that only a few domain areas can be encrypted. On the basis of these rankings, a cumulative SEO visibility were calculated comparing the two curves with each other over time.

Initially it seemed that there probably was a boost for encrypted URLs at a certain point in time but this this was before Google’s announcement, somewhere in May 2013 and the last week of June this year.

The following graphics is based on the rankings of hundreds of thousands of keywords.

https vs http Are HTTPs Sites Getting Any Ranking Benefits? Google Says So, Study Says No!

It became quite clear that a handful of domains or individual directories were responsible for the boost eg. play.google.com/ or games.yahoo.com/. If these domains are removed the curve obtained follow each other quite smoothly as shown in the image below.

https and http Are HTTPs Sites Getting Any Ranking Benefits? Google Says So, Study Says No!

However, if we focus on the difference between the two curves, the actual fluctuation rarely exceeds the value of 0.2.

difference between https and http Are HTTPs Sites Getting Any Ranking Benefits? Google Says So, Study Says No!

The entire analysis brings us to the conclusion that https has no relation with rankings till date. Thus Google’s announcement of including https in websites for improving the rank does not affect a large section of the index. Only a merely visible section have acquired benefits by using https in their websites.

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Ritu from PageTraffic is a qualified Google Adwords Professional and Content Head at PageTraffic. She has been the spear head for many successful Search Marketing Campaigns and currently overseas Content Marketing operations of Page Traffic in India.